What is Stress?
Physical stress: ex. being threatened by a predator, physical assault.
Physical stress is more common in animals than in humans.
Physical stress activates biological processes (when you are being threatened you sweat,
heart beat quickens, etc.)
Psychological stress: ex. exams, relationships, post traumatic (PTSD), family illness
(illness by proxy), most stress we face is psychological, psychological stressors cause a
response in biology (evolution causes non-physical stressors to have the same effect on
our biological systems as physical stress does)
More typical in modern human society
Have preserved the physical stress biological
Response, but now use it for psychological stressors
Cannon: fight or flight response activates the sympathetic nervous system leads to the
release of norepinephrine, serotonin, etc.
quick response is adaptive
But prolonged response disrupts emotional and physiological functioning
If this response lasts for a long period of time, it can be detrimental (in animals they
fight, or they run and escape and the stress only lasts for a few minutes)
Seyle: GeneralAdaptation Syndrome: stressors all evoke a similar response in the body;
there is a release of cortisol in response to all stressors
Alarm: initial response to event
Resistance: keeps up for a period of time
Exhaustion: body unable to cope with the threat for any longer. Can lead to
Tend and Befriend: researcher thought that sometimes during stressful times people
congregate with other people and to take care of their children. When something bad
happens you tend to try and protect their loved ones. Social support might help you.
Oxytocin is related to it. Thought to promote social behaviours in times of stress
something very concrete that happens, an onset and offset.
Threatening in the moment with no long term consequences (ex. natural disasters).
Can be useful and beneficial as our bodies are well suited for it, and it is adaptive when
the stress is short lasting
Zebra being chased down in the savannah Our bodies well suited for short-term physical emergencies
Stress adaptive in the short term
Can be detrimental in the long term
ex. working at a stressful job, financial obligations which someone has to keep up with,
illness, harsh environmental living conditions.
Ongoing stress which has no end in sight.
Acute and Chronic Stress in Asthma:
- Sandberg et al., Lancet (2000)
Considered severe negative life events
Acute vs. chronic stress
Outcome: likelihood of having asthma attack
- peak flow rate < 70% of usual
18 month prospective study
Researchers looked to see if a child who hasAsthma also had negative life events.
Temporal Resolution (you need to find what comes first, the stress or theAsthma
increasing in strength).
Lancet (2000) got kids to blow in order to see their lung function in order to see if they
got asthma attacks that day. Then they asked them if they had a stressful life event, and
when it happened
Hypothesis/ Questions: if you experience an